New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party, in its pre poll manifesto, had promised free Wi-Fi to all in Delhi but achieving this arduous task is going to be the biggest challenge, said the experts who are working on the project.
Around five million people are expected to hook up to the Wi-Fi network in Delhi. The scale national capital is aiming for is much larger than the cities like New York, Beijing and London, said a person working on the plan. Delhi's Connaught Place and Khan Market offer free Wi-Fi for a limited period while India's tech capital Bengaluru has many public Wi-Fi zones.
Delhi has more than 2 crore wireless devices and at least a quarter of these are expected to use this service.
Experts say huge investment is required for this plan —the government hasn't come up with any estimate but officials say it could be around Rs 400-500 crore.
A telecom industry executive, who requested anonymity, expressed the feasibility of providing city-wide Wi-Fi in India, where most people still don't even use Internet.
"Delhi has more than 2 crore wireless devices and at least a quarter of these are expected to use this service,” said Adarsh Shastri, a former Apple employee and AAP's in-house telecom expert tasked with implementation of the project.
“There has been no demonstrated successful model anywhere in the world where five million users, or even one million users, have access areas in universities. But that still is a tall order to scale,” he added.
Initially, Delhi government is expected to provide only basic Internet services such as email, Facebook, WhatsApp and government websites without any charge, while data usage may be restricted. But Shastri said there has been no decision yet on restrictions.